Morgan Advanced Materials

    Morgan Advanced Materials is a global materials engineering company which designs and manufactures a wide range of high specification products with extraordinary properties, across multiple sectors and geographies.

    From an extensive range of advanced materials they produce components, assemblies and systems that deliver significantly enhanced performance for customers' products and processes. Morgan's engineered solutions are produced to very high tolerances and many are designed for use in extreme environments.

    Morgan places high importance on using leading-edge Research & Development (R&D), to drive sustainable profitable growth and is creating Global Materials Centres of Excellence (GMCoE) to support its main material families. The first was established in Bromborough and is focused on developing insulation fibre. The second was built in Morgan's Stourport-on-Severn site.

    Opened in late 2015, the facility is leading the Group's development of structural ceramic materials and applications.

    During its development, the decision was made to embrace digital signage at the GMCoE, to showcase Morgan's capabilities using new technology. A four-screen video wall was chosen to maximise the impact of the video wall in the customer experience area.

    Colin Turner, IT Solutions Architect at Morgan Advanced Materials, was the driving force for the new digital signage setup. Previously, Morgan were using static content which, as Colin points out, didn't allow the display of engaging content. With the development of the new GMCoE, the company required a display solution that was not only more modern, but more interactive and engaging, whilst displaying their services, technologies and products.

    Morgan opted for a video wall consisting of four ASUS ST558 screens. The ST558 is ideal for this type of installation thanks to its thin bezel, allowing images to flow seamlessly between each of the screens. Morgan opted to install its new display on a chassis, so that it can be used in multiple locations, as opposed to being fixed to one wall. They chose a four-screen configuration to increase the impact and display flexibility of the video wall whilst still being able to move it around. Using more than four screens would have made this impossible.

    The video wall is located in the middle of the GMCoE, where Morgan's scientists work on the company's latest projects. The video wall can support with developments, for example by hooking up a digital microscope to the ST558 displays, Morgan can show clients technical details of their components in extraordinary clarity, something that would not have been possible with their old system - a projector and a white screen. The video wall can also be used to show production process for the various components that the company manufactures, something they had previously done using static images.

    The video wall is also used to show product specific videos to customers, taking them through key material properties and benefits. In the past this was also done using paper flipcharts, which Morgan doesn't feel to be in keeping with its high-tech image.

    Morgan has also commissioned a video that it calls its 'visual factory'. Using footage shot from a drone camera flying above the site, the video uses graphics to overlay the working areas of the factory. Each of these different sections is then explored, showing details of production and key capabilities. This video is often shown to visitors so that they can get a better understanding of the Stourport site's activities.

    However, the video wall isn't just used for customer engagement. The employees at Morgan have found that there are many different applications for it, including internal communications and meetings as well as inductions for new staff.

    As Morgan is a manufacturing company, health and safety is very important for employees and visitors alike. Currently they use the ASUS screens in the Centre of Excellence to hold health and safety briefings, but the plan is to install more displays across the site. These will not only show standard advice to help people stay safe, but also have the potential to push out security, safety and emergency messages quickly.

    The screens will also be used to display product information, quality information, KPIs and to replace the current paper noticeboards. Being able to update all the screens digitally is more efficient for the company.

    The video wall is also used by visiting Morgan colleagues to hold briefings and was utilised as the centrepiece for an internal conference that the company held at the site. The Centre of Excellence hosted 40 Morgan executives from all over the world for a two-day conference and the screen was used during the welcome speech, to display the days' agendas, to show where the break-out sessions were being held, and display key site information.

    Colin Turner said that all 40 executives were able to use the same area to see everything on-screen clearly and easily. This just wouldn't have been possible using a more traditional projector setup. The video wall was then used for PowerPoint presentations and, as it measures 110 inches across, the content was visible to all attendees.

    "I think the video wall is better than traditional projectors because of the options it provides for you," he said. "You can still use it for presentations and connect devices with VGA or HDMI, although we are moving to doing that wirelessly, but they give you so many more options."

    Morgan uses specialist signage software from SignageLive, which enables them to split content on to the different screens, but also to schedule different content for different times of the day too.

    The next step for Morgan is to start using the screens for video conferencing. This is also a very important consideration for them, allowing Stourport employees to connect with international colleagues via a new platform, saving money on transport costs, while boosting collaboration and efficiency.

    Many of the projects that the team in the Centre of Excellence are working on involve people based around the globe. Currently the screens aren't touch-enabled, but according to Colin that is the next step. Adding touch-screen capability will further enhance Morgan's ease of interaction with colleagues globally.

    Again, as the wall consists of four linked screens, as opposed to just one large display, it means that each individual screen can show different information. Morgan has the potential to connect the digital microscope to the displays to show off a particular product, while having a video conference at the same time. Ultimately, each display could be configured to show four different items of content.

    Although the video wall is the first digital signage solution that Morgan has installed, it is just the start of a much larger programme. As Colin pointed out, getting the company to buy into the technology wasn't easy. His role as a solutions architect is to introduce new technologies, such as digital signage, to the business. But as this wasn't something that many people had seen or used and many of his colleagues didn't understand how it could be used in the business.

    In order to address this issue, Colin and his team organised an internal technology day, in conjunction with Insight and ASUS. They used the opportunity to demonstrate some of the digital display technology available and how this could be used. "Once people can see applications of the technology it begins to have meaning for them," Colin said.

    Following the technology day, the Morgan management still took some convincing. But now that the video wall has been installed, and being used for many business applications, they are very excited about it. In fact, they are now looking at how they will implement the continuing digital signage programme going forward.

    Since installation, the screens are being used by more departments on site, for example Morgan's HR department have used the screen to increase levels of internal communication within the business via regular site briefings, as well company updates with information on performance. This additional display usage is further vindication of the effectiveness of digital signage beyond passive communication. "As a business we were looking into digital displays and we had the visual factory initiative in mind," Colin Turner said. "And then ASUS came along and we spoke about the video wall and what we could do with digital signage."

    "The video wall has opened the door, it's got people thinking about how they can use it and, instead of me trying to push against the tide, it's opened the flood gates," he added.

    When the four-screen video wall was installed, the aim was to show Morgan Advanced Materials and its products in the best light. But having used it, Morgan now sees it as a key tool for communication, interaction and collaboration with both internal and external parties.